Olympic Figure Skating

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Nhaya Vaidya

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Figure Skater, Mirai Nagasu has made history at the Olympics. She has become the first American woman to land a triple axle at the Olympics.

Her performance helped the U.S team to win the bronze medal in the team event and is now an Olympic medalist.

Only two other women have ever landed the triple axle at the Olympics and they were both Japanese. Skater Asada landed it during her free skate in Sochi and Midori Ito in the 1992 Olympics.

So why is a triple axel so hard? It is because the skaters have to compete an extra half rotation in the air. The axle begins with a forward-take off following three complete rotations in the air. Many skaters underotate and cannot make the landing.

A triple axle has the highest base value of the axles at 8.5. To compare a double axle is worth 3.3 base points. To date no one has landed a quad axle but it is worth a massive 15.0 points.

However, Vincent Zhou has landed the first quad lutz in Olympic history at only 17 years old, the youngest athlete on the U.S Olympic team.

Nagasu has been known for her triple axles and they are considered her signature move. To ensure she would complete the axels she even cut off rhinestones on her outfits to reduce weight.

Newcomer skater Bradie Tennell ranks higher than Nagasu but, is not expected to medal in the women’s event. Nagasu is not expected to medal either however, she is believed to have the best chance for team U.S.A.

The ladies short program is on Wednesday, Feb 21 at 10:00 PM ET, and free skating on Friday Feb 23  at 10:00 P.M ET.

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